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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Thursday 24th of December 2020
 










Talking Turkeys @BZephaniah
Misc.



Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas

Cos’ turkeys just wanna hav fun

Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked

An every turkey has a Mum.

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,

Don’t eat it, keep it alive,

It could be yu mate, an not on yu plate

Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side. 

I got lots of friends who are turkeys

An all of dem fear christmas time,

Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it

An humans are out of dere mind,

Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys

Dey all hav a right to a life,

Not to be caged up an genetically made up

By any farmer an his wife. 

Turkeys just wanna play reggae

Turkeys just wanna hip-hop

Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,

‘I cannot wait for de chop’,

Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch

   christmas TV,

Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain

In many ways like yu an me. 

I once knew a turkey called

Turkey

He said ‘Benji explain to me please,

Who put de turkey in christmas

An what happens to christmas trees?’,

I said ‘I am not too sure turkey

But it’s nothing to do wid Christ Mass

Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be

An business men mek loadsa cash’.

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas

Invite dem indoors fe sum greens

Let dem eat cake an let dem partake

In a plate of organic grown beans,

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas

An spare dem de cut of de knife,

Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted

An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’. 

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#Covid19 worldwide on December 23: + 693 004 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 78 705 106 in total + 13,610 deaths in 24 hours @CovidTracker_fr
Misc.



Data from #Covid19 worldwide on December 23: + 693 004 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 78 705 106 in total + 13,610 deaths in 24 hours, or 1,731,335 in total



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Global 640,569 average #COVID19 cases per day up 2.5% past 2wks Deaths increased 13,604 yesterday, above 11,668 wk avg @jmlukens
Misc.


Global 640,569 average #COVID19 cases per day up 2.5% past 2wks and now totals 78,691,778.  Deaths increased 13,604 yesterday, above 11,668 wk avg, and now totals 1,303,333.

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UK reports more than 39,000 coronavirus cases, by far the biggest one-day increase on record @BNODesk
Misc.




- New cases: 39,237

- In hospital: 21,282 (+464)

- In ICU: 1,529 (+21)

- New deaths: 744




19-OCT-2020 ::  Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent





It was also used to describe the profound industrial unrest that took place in 1978—9 in the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Callaghan was asked by a reporter

"What is your general approach, in view of the mounting chaos in the country at the moment?" and replied:

Well, that's a judgment that you are making. I promise you that if you look at it from outside, and perhaps you're taking rather a parochial view at the moment, I don't think that other people in the world would share the view that there is mounting chaos.


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#UK 36,931 #COVID19 cases yesterday exponentially expanded total 1.74% above the 1.58% 1wk avg case growth rate (daily/total) and still accelerating @jmlukens
Misc.



#UK 36,931 #COVID19 cases yesterday exponentially expanded total 1.74% to 2,116,609. This is above the 1.58% 1wk avg case growth rate (daily/total) and still accelerating. 68,409 total deaths exponentially growing 1.01% each day with 691 deaths yesterday above 486/day 1wk avg.

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‘’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.
Misc.


There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” ― Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19
Law & Politics



“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. 

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''Taking RaTG13 as the last common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 would seriously mislead phylogenetic inference of SARS-CoV-2." @TheSeeker268
Misc.



"The actual validity of RaTG13 be the direct ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 is seriously questioned, although they share 96.5% identical genome sequence. Taking RaTG13 as the last common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 would seriously mislead phylogenetic inference of SARS-CoV-2."





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However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”
Misc.



According to Daszak, the mine sample had been stored in Wuhan for six years. Its scientists “went back to that sample in 2020, in early January or maybe even at the end of last year, I don’t know. They tried to get full genome sequencing, which is important to find out the whole diversity of the viral genome.”

However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”

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Phylogenetic supertree reveals detailed evolution of SARS-CoV-2 @nature
Misc.



The origin of SARS-Cov-2 and its evolutionary relationship is still ambiguous. 



Here we applied the matrix representation with parsimony (MRP) pseudo-sequence supertree analysis to study the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV-2. 

Compared with other phylogenetic analysis methods, the supertree method showed more resolution power for phylogenetic analysis of coronaviruses. 

In particular, the MRP pseudo-sequence supertree analysis firmly disputes bat coronavirus RaTG13 be the last common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, which was implied by other phylogenetic tree analysis based on viral genome sequences

Actually, in addition to COVID-19, coronaviruses of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV that created epidemics in the past are well-known to cause severe disease in humans. 

Although the above mentioned three viruses are all identified as beta-coronaviruses by the full-length genomic sequence analysis, SARS-CoV-2 divergent from SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, belongs to a distinct lineage on the phylogenic tree. 

More and more genomes of SARS-CoV-2 isolates were sequenced all around the world. 

It creates an opportunity for precisely analyzing the phylogeny and evolution of SARS-CoV-2

However, SARS-CoV-2 isolates displayed barely detected phylogenetic distance among each other in the phylogenetic tree. 

Thus, the detailed evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is still under the veil.

For example, at least five proteins of SARS-CoV-2 fail to establish orthology relationships with proteins in MERS-CoV, and the ORF8 of SARS-CoV-2 has no orthologous proteins in SARS-CoV.


As the phylogenetic MRP pseudo-sequence supertree and ML tree exhibited, RaTG13 (MN996532), bat-SL-CoVZC45 (MG772933), bat-SL-CoVZXC21 (MG772934) and SARS-CoV-2s formed one major clade (Fig. 2, Supplementary Fig. S1). 

In particular, RaTG13 isolated from bat Rhinolophus affinis (Yunnan, China), is the closest relative of SARS-CoV-2s, which substantiates the previously reported phylogeny of SARS-CoV-2s constructed with the whole genome

However, the phylogenetic distance of SARS-CoV-2s and RaTG13 was distinctly exhibited in the MRP pseudo-sequence supertree (Fig. 2); by contrast, it was barely observed in the phylogenetic ML tree constructed in this study (Supplementary Fig. S1) or previous report

To interpret the disparate proximity between SARS-CoV-2s and RaTG13 in MRP pseudo-sequence supertree relative to ML tree, we examined and evaluated the 10 source ML trees (Fig. 3), based on which the MRP pseudo-sequence supertree was built. 

Consistent with the results of MRP pseudo-sequence supertree and ML tree, RaTG13 (MN996532) is identified as adjacent coronavirus to SARS-CoV-2s in source ML trees based on phylogenetic analysis of five CDSs, including ORF1ab, spike protein, N protein, ORF6 and ORF7a (Fig. 3a, b, d, g, h). 

By contrast, bat coronavirus MG772933 and MG772934, both of which are isolated from bat Rhinolophus sinicus (Zhejiang, China)41, were the nearest relatives of SARS-CoV-2 s in source ML trees based on M protein, ORF3a, and ORF8 (Fig. 3c, f, i). 

In addition, phylogenetic analysis of E protein sequence showed that SARS-CoV-2s, MN996532, MG772933, and MG772934 are pinpointed on the same branch (Fig. 3e). 

The inconsistent phylogenetic relationship relied on diverse genes seriously casts doubt on the reliability of single-gene based phylogenetic analysis.

Whatsoever, the above distinct phylogenetic analysis results showed beyond a reasonable doubt that the rates of evolution on sequences of varied proteins in SARS-CoV-2s are highly non-uniform

There probably exists another bat coronavirus in divergent species as the adjacent ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, and/or SARS-CoV-2s already made advanced evolution in its animal host. 

Anyway, what is clear is that the actual validity of RaTG13 be the direct ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 is seriously questioned, although they share 96.5% identical genome sequence. 

Taking RaTG13 as the last common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 would seriously mislead phylogenetic inference of SARS-CoV-2.


Spike protein, responsible for viral entry into host cells, exhibited two mutated sites distributed in clade A (D614G) and F (H49Y), respectively. 

The mutation site D614G in spike protein is located between receptor-binding domain (451–509) and polybasic cleavage site (682–685)44, which possibly can regulate the capability of SARS-CoV-2s binding to human host ACE2 receptor or involved in other steps related to the invasion of host cells. 

Further studies and clinical observations are needed to figure out whether mutation sites on various proteins could change the viral ability for infection and its pathogenicity.




the Algorithmic Master [Blaster] and Sun Tzu Maestro '' ''The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting''



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How the U.S. Misread China’s Xi: Hoping for a Globalist, It Got an Autocrat @WSJ
Law & Politics



BEIJING—In the two years before Xi Jinping became China’s leader in 2012, U.S. officials tried to size him up through a series of face-to-face meetings.

During talks in China in 2011, Mr. Xi, then vice president, asked about civilian control of the U.S. military, shared his thoughts on uprisings in the Middle East and spoke, unprompted, about his father, a renowned revolutionary. 

When he visited the U.S. in 2012, he was relaxed and affable, chatting with students and posing for pictures with Magic Johnson at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game.

The U.S. officials’ conclusion: Although Mr. Xi was far more confident and forthright than Hu Jintao, the stiff and scripted leader he would succeed, he likely shared his commitment to stable ties with Washington and closer integration with the U.S.-led global order. 

Some even hoped Mr. Xi would kick-start stalled economic reforms.

It was one of the biggest strategic miscalculations of the post-Cold War era.

In the eight subsequent years, Mr. Xi has pursued an expansive, hypernationalistic vision of China’s future, displaying a desire for control and a talent for political maneuvering

Drawing comparisons to Mao Zedong, he has crushed critics and potential rivals, revitalized the Communist Party and even scrapped presidential term limits so he can, if he chooses, rule for life.

Promising a “China Dream” of national renewal, he has mobilized China’s military to enforce territorial claims, forced up to a million Chinese Muslims into internment camps and curbed political freedoms in Hong Kong.

Now, with Covid-19 under control in China but still widespread across the U.S., he is promoting his self-styled, tech-enhanced update of Marxism as a superior alternative to free-market democracy—a “China solution” to global problems.

“It was clear he was not going to be a second Hu Jintao,” said Danny Russel, who as a senior Obama administration official attended several meetings with Mr. Xi, including in 2011 and 2012. 

“What I underestimated about Xi Jinping was his tolerance for risk.”

Mr. Xi’s swift reversal of more than three decades of apparent movement toward collective leadership and a less intrusive party has surprised both U.S. officials and much of the Chinese elite. In hindsight, though, the roots of his approach are visible in key episodes of his life.

They include his father’s purge from the top party leadership, his teenage years in a Chinese village, his induction into the military and his exposure to nationalist and “new left” undercurrents in the party elite.

Mr. Xi’s autocratic turn also was catalyzed by a 2012 political scandal that upset the balance of power among the party elite and emboldened advocates of stronger, centralized leadership. 

It gave Mr. Xi the justification he needed to sideline rivals, rebuild the party and revamp its ideology.

Today China follows a new political doctrine known as “Xi Jinping Thought,” which combines many attributes of different 20th-century authoritarians. 

It reasserts the party’s Leninist role as the dominant force in all areas, including private business. 

It revives Maoist methods of mass mobilization, uses digital surveillance to replicate Stalin’s totalitarian social controls and embraces a more muscular nationalism based on ethnicity that makes fewer allowances for minorities or residents of Taiwan and Hong Kong.


Above all, Xi Jinping Thought aims to grant Mr. Xi the legitimacy to remain in power and continue his quest to make China a rich, truly global power by 2049, the centenary of Mao’s victory.

Mr. Xi has been a popular leader, bolstered in part by positive coverage in state media. 

Under his leadership, China has posted robust economic growth and eradicated extreme poverty, as well as curbing Covid-19 within its borders. 

The nation’s growing international stature also has become a source of national pride.

“His goal is to make the whole world see China as a great power, and him as a key figure in making it great,” said Xiao Gongqin, a leading figure among scholars who advocate so-called enlightened autocracy in China. “At heart, he’s a nationalist.”

Mr. Xiao, based in Shanghai, counts himself a supporter. But like many in China’s elite, he said he worries Mr. Xi “lacks a spirit of compromise. That’s his shortcoming….And there is no mechanism to correct him.”

China’s government press office declined to comment, but arranged interviews with two professors at the Central Party School, the party’s top think tank and training academy.

Both said Mr. Xi hadn’t abandoned collective leadership, but declined to predict whether he would retire in 2022, when his current term is scheduled to end. 

They described Xi Jinping Thought as “21st-Century Marxism,” saying his political thinking was shaped, in part, by his experiences in his youth.

“When he was young, his life was a little tortuous, but these twists and turns made comrade Xi Jinping what he is today,” said Han Qingxiang, one of the professors, who has conducted a study session on Marxism for top leaders. 

“Only those who have suffered can achieve great things.”


One mistake many in China and abroad made about the new Chinese leader was hoping he would emulate his father, Xi Zhongxun, as a pioneer of economic reform and opponent of one-man rule after Mao’s death.


People who have spoken with Xi Jinping say he talks with pride about his father, who commanded Communist guerrillas in China’s northwest and became a vice premier after Mao’s 1949 victory.

What instead honed his political instincts, they say, were his austere upbringing and his family’s suffering after his father was purged from the leadership in 1962 and banished to central China for 13 years, mostly to work at a tractor factory, for supporting publication of a controversial book.

That set him apart from other leaders’ offspring, known as princelings, who in most cases endured less hardship. 

It also left him fearful of disorder, determined to clear his family’s name and distrustful of China’s elite.

Like many other princelings, Xi Jinping, who is now 67 years old, spent his earliest years in exclusive schools and housing compounds, where he was raised to believe he was one of China’s future leaders.

His mother lived and worked at the Party School, so he and three siblings were mostly cared for by their father. 

Xi Zhongxun was unusually strict and frugal, forcing his two sons to wear their elder sisters’ castoff clothes and shoes, and often lecturing them about his role in the revolution.

The father was prone to depression and bouts of violent rage, according to Joseph Torigian, an American University professor who is writing a book about Xi Zhongxun. 

“The standout characteristic of this family was a father who was exceptionally disciplinarian and brutal,” Mr. Torigian said.

The Xi family was denounced and shunned by many peers after Xi Zhongxun’s purge from the leadership in 1962. 

The abuse intensified after Mao launched his Cultural Revolution in 1966, unleashing Red Guard youths who assaulted and often killed teachers and other “class enemies.” Among those who died was Xi Jinping’s half sister.

Many princelings formed their own Red Guard unit. Xi Jinping, too young and tainted by his father to join, spent his time roaming the streets and reading books taken from deserted schools and libraries, including Charles de Gaulle’s memoirs and Richard Nixon’s autobiography, according to a family friend.

He rarely speaks of those years, but in interviews before taking power, he said they hardened his view of politics. 

He recalled denouncing his father, being jailed three times and having Red Guards threaten him with execution.

“People who have little contact with power, who are far from it, always see these things as mysterious and novel,” he said in 2000. 

“But what I see is not just the superficial things: the power, the flowers, the glory, the applause. I see the bullpens”—a reference to Red Guard detention houses—”and how people can blow hot and cold. I understand politics on a deeper level.”

Like his father, he maintained faith in the party, blaming his family’s ordeals on Mao’s security chief, according to people who know the family. 

At the same time, they say, he learned from the misfortunes of his father, who was rehabilitated in 1978 and helped establish China’s first Special Economic Zone to attract foreign investment, then was sidelined again in the late 1980s.


One conclusion Xi Jinping reached, these people say, was that politics is a winner-take-all contest. Another was that he should conceal his own views until he had real power.


Once he was in office, his controlling instincts and distrust of peers became clear as he moved away from consensus decision-making and targeted potential rivals in an anticorruption campaign. 

His desire for control trumped an early pledge to allow the market a “decisive role” in the economy.

“He reached a conclusion that unrestrained markets were in fact going to present a massive problem for long-term party control,” said Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister who has met Mr. Xi several times, most recently in November 2019. 

“The party’s in his veins. He does not buy any argument, direct or indirect, about any form of peaceful transition to something else.”

Today, his father is lauded primarily for his unwavering loyalty to the party. His grave in northwest China is now part of a “patriotic education base” where officials often gather to renew their oaths to the party and bow before a statue of Xi Zhongxun. 

Carved in granite in front of the statue is a Mao quote: “The party’s interests come first.”


Mr. Xi was expected to have conflicted views of Mao, having learned to revere him but also having suffered because of him. 

The surprise has been the extent to which he has sought to resurrect Mao as a source of legitimacy for the party and himself.


In 1968, Mao tried to restore order by sending millions of young people into the countryside to be “educated.” 

That is how Mr. Xi, at age 15, wound up in Liangjiahe, a cluster of about three dozen homes, mostly traditional cave dwellings, 220 miles northeast of his father’s birthplace.

Conditions were brutal. Flea-ridden and often hungry, he spent much of the next seven years building wells, digging fields and herding sheep. There was no school.

Many in his generation had similar experiences and, after Mao’s death in 1976, returned home disillusioned.

Since taking power, Mr. Xi has deliberately cultivated comparisons with Mao, and used his Liangjiahe years as the centerpiece of his political origin story. 

Today, tour guides in the village depict Mr. Xi being transformed from a weak, confused teenager into a hardy man of the people.

Recently, inside one cave, a guide pointed out the raised brick platform that Mr. Xi and five others used as a bed. 

The guide gave a selective account of Mr. Xi’s stay: He found it tough at first, but soon won over villagers through his hard work and ended up as local party chief, the guide said.

Local officials tailed a visiting Wall Street Journal reporter and stopped every attempted interview.

People who speak with Mr. Xi or study his record say his time in the village was transformative. 

They say he developed an affinity and sense of duty to China’s rural poor, and a pragmatism through dealing with village life. Villagers turned to him for advice, feeding his self-image as a born leader.


He brought two suitcases of books with him and borrowed many more, reading them obsessively and absorbing ideas, according to people who have spoken with him. 

Some of the frayed volumes are displayed in one cave, including “Lenin on War and Peace,” Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” two books on foreign policy by Henry Kissinger and the collected writings of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who pioneered Nazi Germany’s blitzkrieg tactics.


Years later, he would mention his reading frequently, quoting from foreign or Chinese classical works and boasting that he mastered the core tenets of Marxism in the village.

Some who know him see that as a conscious emulation of Mao, who prided himself on his literary prowess. 

Others detect a sensitivity about his lack of formal schooling. A former secretary to Mao, after meeting Mr. Xi in the 2000s, described him as having “elementary school level” education.

Mr. Xi won a place to study chemical engineering at a university in Beijing in 1975, but as a “worker-peasant-soldier,” selected before competitive entry exams and regular teaching resumed.

After China’s market-opening reforms began in 1979, most of Mr. Xi’s contemporaries, including his siblings, focused on improving their lives, often going into business. 

Mr. Xi was one of the few princelings who chose a political career and often complained to friends about the corruption and materialism around him.

Some familiar with those princelings believe they never lost their reverence for Mao.

Mr. Xi, as leader, has adopted many of Mao’s titles, rhetorical terms and political techniques, and declared Mao’s achievements to be on par with the reform era that followed.

He had pragmatic reasons as well. In the years before he took power, he came to believe that criticism of Mao was undermining the party’s foundations, just as condemnation of Stalin eroded faith in its Soviet equivalent.

Mr. Xi saw how Bo Xilai, another princeling, became hugely popular as party chief in the city of Chongqing with a campaign to revive strongman rule and egalitarian Maoist ideals.

Liberal-minded Chinese, appalled at the rehabilitation of a man who many historians believe caused the death of more than 40 million people, now warn of a new Cultural Revolution.

Cai Xia, a former Party School professor in exile in the U.S., accuses Mr. Xi of making the party into a “political zombie” and warns of major chaos in the next five years.

Mr. Xi, however, appears to believe he can use digital censorship and surveillance to achieve the political control Mao aspired to, without upending society.

“The legacy I think he is drawing on is not Mao the revolutionary, the radical,” said Jude Blanchette, a Chinese politics expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and author of a book on China’s neo-Maoist movement. 

“It’s a nation-building Mao, the Mao who fought the U.S. to a draw in the Korean War.”


In the spring of 1979, shortly after Mr. Xi graduated from the university, he got a job, with his father’s help, as a secretary to Geng Biao, then a vice premier responsible for national defense. 

It gave him a three-year crash course in elite politics, international relations and military affairs.


He gained an inside view of U.S.-China relations, learning to see the U.S. as both a partner and a potential threat. 

He traveled abroad for the first time, visiting Europe with Mr. Geng. He also learned the political importance of the People’s Liberation Army and built a network of military contacts.

“I have an insoluble bond with the army,” Xi Jinping said in a speech last year. “From a young age, I learned a lot about our military history and witnessed the demeanor of many older generation army leaders.”

Mr. Geng was an army veteran who had served with Mr. Xi’s father, been ambassador to six countries and led the International Liaison Department, which managed ties with Communists abroad. 

When Mr. Xi joined him, he was vice premier and secretary-general of the Central Military Commission, which controls the armed forces. In 1981, he became defense minister.

It was a big change for Mr. Xi. He wore a military uniform, accompanied Mr. Geng to most meetings and handled confidential documents, according to accounts from Mr. Geng’s relatives and biographer. 

The two men often rode together in Mr. Geng’s Mercedes-Benz—an extraordinary luxury then—and regularly unwound playing Go, a Chinese board game.

Mr. Geng was demanding and security-conscious, insisting that Mr. Xi memorize meetings’ proceedings rather than take notes, according to those accounts. T

to this day, Mr. Xi memorizes large portions of speeches and rarely uses notes in private meetings.


China had just normalized relations with the U.S. and fought a short war with Vietnam that ended in stalemate, a humiliation that still haunts the PLA. 

Mr. Geng’s priority was to build military ties with Washington to counterbalance Soviet power, and in 1980 he went to the U.S. to try to negotiate the purchase of American weapons.


The U.S. arranged a display of top-tier weaponry, plus a White House screening of “The Empire Strikes Back.” 

But it offered to sell only nonlethal equipment, and it pledged to continue arming the island of Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a rebel province.

“In developing China-U.S. relations, we can’t be too excessive or hasty,” Mr. Geng warned in his report on the trip, according to his biography. 

“On some questions, the U.S. is going to maintain unreasonable positions, and we should conduct necessary and appropriate struggle against it.”

The lesson for Mr. Xi was that while cooperation with the U.S. could potentially benefit both countries, their long-term strategic interests weren’t aligned, people who study that era say.

Through his contact with military officers, he became sensitive to territorial issues, especially Taiwan and the South China Sea, and a mind-set that from the 1990s increasingly viewed the U.S. as China’s adversary.

He also witnessed firsthand how Deng Xiaoping courted support from the military during a power struggle between 1979 and 1981 that resulted in his emergence as China’s top leader.

More than three decades later, Mr. Xi would use similar tactics, first establishing firm control of the military, then consolidating his power elsewhere.

“He saw how central politics really worked: The most important thing is to seize actual power,” said Deng Yuwen, a former editor at a newspaper published by the Party School.

Mr. Geng remained a mentor, and when he died, Mr. Xi helped to collect his ashes, an honor usually reserved for the eldest son.


After leaving Mr. Geng’s office, Mr. Xi went into local government for the next 25 years. 

Following his promotion in 2007 to the Politburo Standing Committee, the top decision-making body, he was increasingly exposed to a debate between advocates and opponents of liberalization, which intensified after the global financial crisis.


That’s when he got to know Wang Huning, a former academic who became his top political adviser. 

Mr. Wang, now 65, emerged in the mid-1980s as a leader among “neo-authoritarian” scholars who argued that China needed enlightened autocracy, rather than liberalization, to modernize.

“He believed China needed a leader who is pragmatic and farsighted, who knows the country well, and who has the necessary powers to guide it,” said Ren Xiao, a former student of Mr. Wang at Shanghai’s Fudan University. “He’s been quite consistent in that.”

In 1995, Mr. Wang joined the party’s Central Policy Research Office, which gives advice and writes speeches for top leaders. 

He became its director in 2002 and, from 2007, worked alongside Mr. Xi, including on a team responsible for party building.


When Mr. Xi took power, he relied primarily on Mr. Wang to revamp party ideology in a way that married Mr. Xi’s instincts with countercurrents that were bursting into view on new social media platforms.


Ultranationalists were calling for a more aggressive stance toward the U.S. Other scholars were calling for a revival of Confucianism, a philosophy that advocates strict obedience to social hierarchy. 

China’s state-sector reforms and 2001 World Trade Organization entry gave rise to “new left” thinkers who railed against corruption and inequality.

Mr. Xi rarely expressed views on those debates. After the global financial crisis, however, he became less guarded as many in the Chinese elite became convinced that free-market democracy was in decline.

Visiting Mexico as vice president in 2009, he took a thinly veiled swipe at the U.S. “Some foreigners, with full bellies, who have nothing better to do, point fingers at our affairs,” he said. China didn’t export revolution, poverty or hunger, he added: “What else is there to say?”

In 2010, he visited Chongqing and endorsed the Maoist revival championed by Mr. Bo, the city’s party chief, which included mass performance of revolutionary songs.


In 2011, he met with then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in China. Mr. Xi talked at length about the Soviet collapse and how authoritarian leaders in the Middle East were recently overthrown because they lost touch with their people and failed to control corruption, according to people familiar with those conversations.


“He really clearly signaled that the party faced some existential challenges, in his view, and that things had to change,” said Mr. Russel, the former U.S. official. 

“What I took away was: There were too many power centers, and not only does the country need a strong hand, the party needs a strong hand.”

The following year, the party was thrown into turmoil when a former Chongqing police chief fled to a U.S. consulate in China and alleged that Mr. Bo’s wife had murdered a British businessman. 

She was convicted and jailed for life. Mr. Bo got a life sentence for graft and abusing power.

The scandal eliminated from contention for the Standing Committee the one person with comparable clout to Mr. Xi’s, and gave him an opening to target other powerful individuals in coming years for allegedly conspiring with Mr. Bo to seize power.

It also brought to a head the internal debate over China’s future. Critics of liberalization, especially among princelings, prevailed, arguing that only a strongman could save the party.

That gave Mr. Wang, who became his top political adviser and joined the 25-member Politburo in 2012, a unique opportunity to influence a leader whose instincts and circumstances aligned with his statist views on how to improve China’s governance.


Mr. Wang, who accompanied Mr. Xi to most meetings and on foreign visits in his first term, is widely considered the architect of the “China Dream” concept and Xi Jinping Thought, which was written into the party constitution in 2017, when Mr. Wang joined the Standing Committee.


Party School professor Han Qingxiang described Mr. Wang as a “great theorist” whose policy-making clout “cannot be underestimated.”

Mr. Xi “is definitely influenced in some ways by comrade Wang Huning, but Wang Huning is influenced even more by the general secretary,” Mr. Han said.

Mr. Xi and his advisers describe his doctrine primarily in Marxist terms, and, while pledging not to impose it on other countries, portray it as a model for them that proves the superiority of socialism over capitalism.

Xin Ming, a Party School professor, said in an interview arranged by the government press office that Mr. Xi’s Marxism was an updated version that incorporated some Western and traditional Chinese thinking, and considered Communism a distant, yet-to-be-defined ideal that would not be realized even by the centenary of Mao’s victory in 2049.

Other scholars studying Mr. Xi’s doctrine say its Marxist content is limited, noting that he doesn’t advocate class struggle or eliminating private property, and that he has cracked down on both Marxist student activists and liberal voices.

They see it as a fusion of Mr. Wang’s thinking with new left, neo-Confucian and other illiberal ideas in an attempt to unify the party, legitimize Mr. Xi’s concentration of power and forge a new model of authoritarian government.

Some detect the influence of Carl Schmitt, a German legal theorist whose ideas the Nazis used to justify unlimited executive power. 

Chinese scholars who advise the government have invoked Mr. Schmitt in recent years, including Jiang Shigong, a Peking University law professor who helped devise Beijing’s policy on Hong Kong.


In a recent essay, Mr. Jiang described Xi Jinping Thought as a “new system for comprehensive party leadership of the state,” arguing that the introduction of the rule of law in China after 1979 had undermined the party’s authority.


“This new party-state system is undoubtedly an important organizational part of the China solution” whose ultimate goal was “creating a new order for human civilization,” he wrote.

Mr. Jiang declined to comment.

China’s containment of the Covid-19 pandemic within its own borders has made Mr. Xi more confident in his governance model, people who speak with him say. 

In November, he pledged to double China’s gross domestic product by 2035. China’s aging society and debt problems will make that challenging.

Mr. Xi faces a mounting backlash abroad, especially from democracies alarmed by his Muslim internments, Hong Kong crackdown and aggressive diplomacy.

Even some in the party think he has overreached and may face resistance to any effort to continue ruling after 2022. Few people, inside or outside the party, would bet against him though.

“There’s something about Xi Jinping’s political schoolcraft which suggests to me that he is capable of navigating what I think will still be a stormy period ahead,” said Mr. Rudd, the former Australian prime minister. “There’s a steeliness to him.”


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The Single biggest Issue remains how Biden engages with the Algorithmic Master [Blaster] and Sun Tzu Maestro '' ''The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting''
Law & Politics





Xi salami-sliced his way into a deeply forward position during the Obama Administration and in 2020 snaffled up Hong Kong, marched 400 kilometers into Indian Territory and the Straw Man Narendra Modi has not even uttered a word and Xi might even decide to roll over Taiwan during this Interregnum.

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07-OCT-2019 :: China turns 70
China



“Longing on a large scale makes history.” wrote Don DeLillo and these words streamed into my consciousness as I watched the celebrations in Tiananmen Square, which were marking the 70th anniversary of Chinese Communist Party rule.


Xi Jinping and the party were seeking to project national power and confidence on a grand scale. Nothing and nobody was going to rain on this parade.

The pomp and pageantry included a parade that involved 15,000 soldiers and sailors, 160 planes, 580 tanks and other weaponry including what Hu Xijin [President Xi’s trusted mouth-piece] described as ‘

’This is the legendary DF41 ICBM. But it is not a tale. Today it is displayed at Tiananmen Square I touched one about four years ago in the production plant. No need to fear it. Just respect it and respect China that owns it’’.

Hu Xijin, my friend Herve Gogo and I were simultaneously bamboozled by the all women militia, selected from the militia force in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, who were a Sun-Tzu level knock-out blow and certainly more than the legendary DF41 ICBM which Xijin is welcome to keep as long as he hands over the ladies who are most welcome to stream in my dreams.

President for life Xi has been fending off a trade war and been dealing with a flaring up on the periphery but last week was his opportunity to paint on a blank canvas and show the world who he is and what China wishes to be.”No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation forging ahead”, he said.

The President for Life was seeking to project a sense of inevitable forward motion and a fulfilment of the promise that Mao Zedong made on the founding of the People’s Re- public of China on October 1, 1949 that China would stand up.

They have “stood up.” Xi’s model is one of technocratic authoritarianism and a recent addition to his book shelf include The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos. Xi is building an Algorithmic Society.

Some of the Xi-era slogans are short and simple, in the manner of Western advertising, such as the “Chinese Dream,” the catchphrase embodying the party’s aim to become a global power by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People Republic of China. In a way, this is also nothing new.

But Xi has taken the propagation of ideology and the cult of personality to extremes not seen since the days of Chairman Mao. Xi in fact has replaced Jesus in Churches and Mohamed in the mosques. “Unity

is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength,” “Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend..no one and no force can ever stop it!” he added.

Today we know the Chinese economy is slowing, but Xi is relying on Chinese resilience “If there is a decoupling between the two econo- mies, so be it. The Chinese people can endure more pain than the spoiled and hubristic Americans.

“The Folks in Hong Kong [whom Xi is seeking to unmask so he can exercise algorithmic control over them] are in open rebellion. Joshua Wong told German Media “Hongkong ist das neue Berlin” referencing the “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech given by United States President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963, in West Berlin.

I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang. The Chinese Dream has become a nightmare at the boundaries of the Han Empire.

The World in the c21st  exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight.


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Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
Law & Politics




US army war college quarterly 1997. The US officer assigned to the deputy chief of staff (Intelligence), charged with defining the future of warfare, wrote

“One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims.”

 What @AmbJohnBolton is telling me is Xi played @POTUS all the way especially in the matter of #COVID19



Mr. Trump, he writes, was “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.” 

Mr. Bolton said that Mr. Trump “stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.” @nytimes


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05-MAR-2018 :: China has unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang
Law & Politics




“strike-hard” campaign, and Xi’s “stability maintenance” and “enduring peace” drive in the region. 

Authorities say the campaign targets “terrorist elements,” but it is in practice far broader, and encompasses anyone suspected of political disloyalty.


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With social media posts about the #coronavirus being censored in #China here‘s a bit of cool protest art going around...@StephenMcDonell
Law & Politics


If you look closely here you'll see references to #China's tech companies Huawei, Wechat (微信), Alibaba etc. Also 和谐 hexie over the eyes means "harmony" (from former Pres Hu catchphrase). In China if you've been censored you've been "harmonised".

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They now turn to rule over the people by means of what could be dubbed “big data totalitarianism” and “WeChat terror.” @ChinaFile #COVID19 Xu Zhangrun
Law & Politics




To put it another way, a breakthrough originating from the periphery may augur once more [as it did in the 1890s, the 1910s, the 1940s and again in the 1980s] a moment that favors a push towards meaningful constitutional and legal rule in China.

That‘s right, we, We the People, for [as I have previously said] how can we let ourselves ―survive no better than swine; fawn upon the power-holders like curs; and live in vile filth like maggots‖?!

As I write these words I reflect on my own situation which also dramatically changed in 2018 [when the author published his famous anti-Xi Jeremiad]. For having raised my voice then, I was punished for ―speech crimes.‖

Thereafter, I was suspended from my job as a university lecturer and cashiered as a professor, reduced to a minor academic rank. I was placed under investigation by my employer, Tsinghua University; my freedoms have been curtailed ever since.

Writing as I do herein, I can now all too easily predict that I will be subjected to new punishments; indeed, this may well even be the last piece I write. But that is not for me to say.

Confronted by this Great Virus, as all of us are right now, I feel as though a vast chasm has opened up before us all and I feel compelled to speak out yet again. There is no refuge from this viral reality and I cannot remain silent


you will all be no better than fields of garlic chives, giving yourselves up to being harvested by the blade of power, time and time again. @ChinaFile #COVID19 

[ “garlic chives,” Allium tuberosum, often used as a metaphor to describe an endlessly renewable resource.]

What is thriving, however, is all that ridiculous ―Red Culture and the nauseating adulation that the system heaps on itself via shameless pro-Party hacks who chirrup hosannahs at every turn @ChinaFile #COVID19

A polity that is blatantly incapable of treating its own people properly can hardly be expected to treat rest of the world well 

Such places will only be able to find their assumed pulchritude reflected back at them in mirror of their imperial self-regard

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07-OCT-2019 :: I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang.
Law & Politics




“The Folks in Hong Kong [whom Xi is seeking to unmask so he can exercise algorithmic control over them] are in open rebellion. 

Joshua Wong told German Media “Hongkong ist das neue Berlin” referencing the “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech given by United States President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963, in West Berlin.

I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang.


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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.2197

Dollar Index 90.206

Japan Yen 103.61

Swiss Franc 0.8879

Pound 1.3583

Aussie 0.7595

India Rupee 73.5666

South Korea Won 1102.65

Brazil Real 5.2167

Egypt Pound 15.7177

South Africa Rand 14.5924

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CoViD19-ΛFЯICΛ: OpenData #MadeInAfrica Confirmed: 2 571 555 (+ 25775) Actives: 350 491 (+ 12079) @NCoVAfrica
Africa



Confirmed: 2 571 555 (+ 25775)

Actives: 350 491 (+ 12079)

Deaths: 60 889 (+ 632)

Recoveries: 2 158 483 (+ 13064)

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Highest number of cases ever recorded in SA - 14 046 New Cases @Rona19Stats
Africa



- 14 046 New Cases

- 3 131 New Recoveries

- 411 New Deaths

- 117 229 Active Cases

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Minister Mkhize: "The spread is much faster than the first wave & we will surpass the peak of first wave in the coming days." @geoffreyyork
Africa



Minister Mkhize: "The spread is much faster than the first wave & we will surpass the peak of first wave in the coming days. We must warn South Africans that we'll need to review current restrictions & consider further measures to ensure we curb this alarming rate of spread."

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Update: #COVID19 in #SouthAfrica 23 December 2020 • New cases = 14 046 - new daily record • Daily test positivity = 26.0% @rid1tweets
Africa



• New cases = 14 046 - new daily record 

• New tests = 54 048 

• Daily test positivity = 26.0% 

• New deaths reported = 411 

• Active cases = 117 229

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Democracy in Africa is in retreat @FT @davidpilling
Africa



It is election time in Uganda, and the main opposition candidate has pulled on his bulletproof vest. 

In recent months, Bobi Wine, the rap singer turned presidential aspirant, has survived arrests, beatings and what he alleges were two assassination attempts as bullets strafed his vehicle.

Mr Wine has good reason to be afraid in the run-up to January’s presidential contest. Two years ago, his driver was shot dead in what he alleges was a botched attempt on his own life. 

And last month, as his supporters came out to cheer him, scores were gunned down by security forces.

Mr Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was four years old when President Yoweri Museveni came to power after overthrowing another dictator. 

Thirty-four years later, Mr Wine and Mr Museveni represent two opposing sides — the street and the palace — in a continent where democracy has taken a battering but where the thirst for democratic representation remains strong.

At 38, Mr Wine — who styles himself the “ghetto president” after his tough upbringing in a Kampala slum — symbolises the street: a frustrated, underemployed youth in a continent where the median age is below 20

At 76, Mr Museveni represents an entrenched and ageing political royalty, skilled in the art of economic extraction and the brutal mechanics of clinging on to power.

If leaders like Mr Museveni are the immovable object, then challengers like Mr Wine are the unstoppable force. 

The result is likely to be more and more confrontations across the continent in which ordinary people, frustrated with crooked elections, demand change. 

The contents of Mr Wine’s political platform are vague. More than specific policies, he represents the smouldering rage of an urban youth that has retained a faith in democracy as the best way out of poverty. 

“Young Ugandans feel like they are first-world brains trapped in a third-world country,” Mr Wine told CNN this month. “They want to live their full potential.”

Surveys by Afrobarometer, a pan-African polling organisation, show that Africans express consistent support for multi-party democracy, direct elections of their leaders and, above all, presidential term limits. 

In a 2019 survey of more than 30 African countries, three-quarters of respondents said they wanted open and fair elections.

More than in Asia, where some autocracies have delivered economic success, most Africans persist in the belief that democracy is the surest path to development, says Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Afrobarometer’s co-founder.

After years of gaining ground after the fall of the Berlin Wall, democracy in Africa is in retreat. 

Leaders like Mr Museveni have grown adept at manipulating democratic norms to deliver the appearance of democracy without its content. 

In Burundi, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and many other countries, leaders have engaged in constitutional chicanery to extend term limits.

Former soldiers have donned democratic robes. Chidi Odinkalu, senior manager for Africa at the Open Society Foundations, reckons there are 21 former military men in power in Africa — including Angola, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

In Mali this year, soldiers moved straight into the presidential palace, without bothering to pass the ballot box. 

International condemnation of even naked power grabs has been muted. “Donald Trump has made dictatorship hip again,” says Mr Gyimah-Boadi. 

He hopes the needle may shift back under the US president-elect Joe Biden.

Still, African governments are less reliant on western donors, 
some pretence of linking aid with respect for democratic norms. 

Instead, until Covid at least, they have borrowed from eurobond markets for whom prompt repayment is more important than credible elections.

Money has flowed, too, from the Gulf and the Middle East. 

For 20 years, one-party China has been the biggest lender of all. “The model of authoritarian developmentalism has come from China,” says Mr Odinkalu. “And it comes with a spigot of Chinese money.”

If external pressure to democratise has waned, pressure from the street has intensified. 

Mr Wine represents a civic pushback in a continent where ordinary people continue to make the case for liberal values.

In Sudan, the 30-year dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir ended in 2019 after millions took to the streets to demand his exit. 

This February, Malawi’s constitutional court annulled the results of the 2019 “Tipp-Ex election” after months of mass protests in which tens of thousands poured on to the streets to denounce a fraudulent poll. 

The election was rerun and the incumbent ejected.

The streets of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, have also been in flames as mass protests erupted against police brutality

The echoes of their “EndSars movement” — named for a brutal unit of the Nigerian police force — has hash-tagged around the continent.

For a constitutional democracy to “survive and flourish”, says John Mukum Mbaku, senior non-resident fellow at Brookings, it must have both a “robust and politically active public” and “political elites dedicated to maintaining the country’s constitutional institutions”.

The clamour from the street is loud and clear. But few in the palaces appear to be listening.


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Turning To Africa Spinning Top
Africa



Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator


Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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10-JUN-2019 :: The "zeitgeist" of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating
Africa




The ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating. As I watched events unfold it felt like Sudan was a portal into a whole new normal. 





Anyone trying to find out what’s going on in Tigray war should watch this.@vercrus  + Belgium TV team managed to get there H/T @_Will_Brown



Join the dots....by connecting the date sequence of NASA FIRMS satellite fire detections this map clearly shows two offensive routes starting at the Eritrean border into Tigray. @FIRIS_FireAlert




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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.
Africa




Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.


I wrote this in 2 JUL 18 :: :Ethiopia Rising






I recalled watching the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi order on a night of a full moon in Konya, Turkey. 

 It’s all about speed and velocity. Paul Virilio terms it ‘dromology’, which he defined as the “science (or logic) of speed“. 

He notes that the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower.

“Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a matter of movement and circulation.”

Virilio argues that the traditional feudal fortified city disappeared because of the increasing sophistication of weapons and possibilities for warfare. 

For Virilio, the concept of siege warfare became rather a war of movement.

Abiy Ahmed has moved at lightning speed, the old guard is like ‘’the traditional feudal fortified city’’.

Conclusions

However, It is Debretsion who has the 'dromology'' advantage and that is why 

The question now is whether the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front can sustain a prolonged guerrilla war @TheEconomist


Or alternatively @TheEconomist whether @PMEthiopia can sustain an occupation given that one suspects there are equally restive regions




The fugitive leader of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray region on Monday called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “stop the madness” and withdraw troops




The fight is about self-determination of the region of around 6 million people, the Tigray leader said, and it “will continue until the invaders are out.” 


Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer





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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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December 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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